Teen Parents and Custody Issues

Posted by Joseph D. Lento | Feb 17, 2023 | 0 Comments

What happens when teen parents fight over custody? It's hard to imagine such a scenario, but teen pregnancies often have this result. When teens have kids, they will face a mountain of difficulties. They're not financially or emotionally prepared to raise a child of their own, and that's generally when grandparents feel the need to step in.

Too many grandparents mistakenly assume they can dictate how their grandchild is raised when the parents are underage. The fact is, the amount of control a grandparent has over the parents' arguments and decisions regarding the baby is limited. Without formal custody orders from NJ courts, you won't have the level of control you might feel you deserve.

Who Gets Custody When Parents Are Underage?

As a grandparent, you don't have legal or physical custody of your grandchild unless the court says so. The court won't automatically grant you custody just because the parents are underage. Instead, the court will always look to the best interest of the child. The court will try to keep the child with the parent who is best suited to offer the child a safe and healthy home.

In some cases, grandparents can seek full custody of the child, but it's difficult. Grandparents will need to demonstrate that the parents are unfit to provide the child with a safe and healthy environment. For example, the court will need to see one or more of the following factors:

  • The parent is abusing drugs
  • The parent is engaging in criminal behavior
  • The parent is unfit

This process is hard. No grandparent wants to have a court strip away the parental rights of their own children. Ultimately, grandparents need to do what's right for their grandchild. Doing so can help the teen get back on track and provide space and opportunity for healthy relationships down the road.

Grandparent Visitation in New Jersey

In addition to physical custody, grandparents can petition the court to order grandparent visitation arrangements for their grandchild. In the case of teen pregnancies, grandparents might find they also have to negotiate terms with the other set of grandparents. To establish visitation rights, you'll need to go before the court and discuss a lot of personal details, including:

  • Your relationship with the grandchild and the parents
  • Whether the grandchild is prohibited from seeing the grandparents
  • The impact of a grandparent relationship on the child
  • Histories of abuse or neglect

This process can be hard, but you don't have to do it alone.

Hire a NJ Custody Attorney

Grandparent custody is a difficult process that requires a sophisticated understanding of how the laws work. Your best chance at winning grandparent custody in NJ is by working with an experienced family law attorney. Contact Attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Family Law Team today by calling 888-535-3686 or filling out our form online.

About the Author

Joseph D. Lento

"I pride myself on having heart and driving hard to get results!" Attorney Joseph D. Lento is a veteran of one of the nation's busiest family courts with nearly 20 years' experience passionately helping families. By day, he worked in the trenches of family court, and at night, he studied the law. He helped countless families while working at family court, and he went on to become an attorney, dedicating his law practice to continuing the work he started years earlier. Mr. Lento's experience both behind the scenes and on the front lines allows him to understand a client's family law matter from all angles, and allows him to find and employ the most effective strategies to get favorable outcomes for any client. Joseph D. Lento is licensed in New Jersey and New York, and is admitted pro hac vice as needed nationwide. In the courtroom and in life, attorney Joseph D. Lento stands up when the bell rings! He does not settle for the easiest outcome, and instead prioritizes his clients' needs and protects their interests.


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Attorney Joseph D. Lento has more than a decade of experience practicing Family Law in New Jersey. If you are having any uncertainties about what the future may hold for you and your family, contact our offices today. Family Law Attorney Joseph Lento will go above and beyond the needs for any client and fight for what is fair.

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